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Old 09-19-2010, 09:13 AM   #1
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Soon to be new owner.. couple questions

Hi everyone. I first posted earlier this summer, and have yet to find the Jeep that's right for me. I think I finally found "The One", an '88 Sahara. I'm super excited about this because I've been looking for so long, and my ideal Jeep was an older Sahara.. it's even the color I wanted. It's a 4.2, 6 cyl 5 speed, 149k miles (but it was a tow behind, so the miles are mostly from that). The guy selling it is having a few things checked out for us with his mechanic on Monday - it's stuck in 4WD, the gas gauge doesn't work (the needle just bounces all over), and its leaking oil pretty good (from crawling under and looking, my husband believes it's the rear main seal). It is mostly rust free, except the panels right behind/underneath the doors and infront of the rear tires are pretty rusted out and will need repair.

The guy is asking $4,000 for it, but he said we can talk price once his mechanic checks it out. He seems like a pretty cool, fair guy so I'd like to think he'd take an appropriate amount off depending how costly the repairs might be. We aren't really concerned about the 4WD or gas gauge issue.. mainly just the oil leak.

I guess I'm wondering, what do you think would be a decent amount of money to take off if we bought it with the rear main is leaking? How much would that cost if we were to take it to someone to be repaired, or how easy/hard would it be for us to fix ourselves?? My husband is somewhat mechanically inclined, and we have some friends that know more and could probably help.

Thanks!

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Old 09-19-2010, 09:49 AM   #2
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The guy selling it is having a few things checked out for us with his mechanic on Monday!
Have it checked by your mechanic
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it's stuck in 4WD!
Not good
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the gas gauge doesn't work!
Not a big deal, you just have to learn your limits
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its leaking oil pretty good!
could be something simple
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It is mostly rust free, except the panels right behind/underneath the doors and infront of the rear tires are pretty rusted out and will need repair.!
Make sure to check under the carpets and all the frame. Are you proficient in body repair? Could get costly if not.

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We aren't really concerned about the 4WD!

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How much would that cost if we were to take it to someone to be repaired, or how easy/hard would it be for us to fix ourselves!
Can't answer about the cost to have someone else take care of it, but you should be able to take care of that one yourselves.

Personally I would pass on this one, but I understand your enthusiasm after such a long wait. Have your mechanic check it out first and good luck,

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Old 09-19-2010, 10:14 AM   #3
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My husband and I both have new cars, so we don't really HAVE a mechanic...

Why would you pass on it? Just curious, because pretty much everything I've been looking at for around $4k has been way worse off (completely rusted out, or beat on), or a 4 cyl, which I don't really want.

From what I read, 4WD sticking seems to be a pretty common issue and not too difficult to fix, so that's why I said I wasn't too concerned (meaning it's something my husband should be able to fix). Should I be concerned because I have no idea how long its been driven around in 4WD??

The frame is in good shape... a little rust, but not rotted out. I live in New England, so it's good for around here.
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Old 09-19-2010, 11:13 AM   #4
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er... should a Jeep log miles while being towed??? transfer should be in neutral and no miles should log I think.

And if it was towed with the transfer case in 2wd or 4wd and the trannie in neutral (In which case the miles would log), then I'd have someone very knowledgable look at that t-case... especially since it's stuck in 4wd. towing in gear can cause major major problems.

the oil leak, if it actually is the rear main, will require dropping the trannie. I've done it in a driveway before, it can be done pretty cheap, but it's a bear.

Being that you posted that you both own new cars, What are you buying the jeep for? if it's just going to be a toy and get built up, then the transfer case issue might not be such a big issue...
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Old 09-19-2010, 11:14 AM   #5
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If 4 is the starting point you can always go lower.

Since I see so many jeep "tow-behinds" in my neck of the woods, I often wonder. Doesn't the odometer read from the front axle? I hope a reader can answer that. In other words I wonder if the 149K miles are all actual driven miles?
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Old 09-19-2010, 11:33 AM   #6
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Thanks, you posed some good questions about the towing... if anyone could offer more info on this, it'd be greatly appreciated! I know that just the other day it was towed from Maine, down to here in NH where it's being sold (the owner is friends with the guy who is selling it). My husband drove it the day after it arrived and he realized it was stuck in 4WD... so when you say "towing in gear can cause major problems", do you mean towing with the t-case in gear, but the transmission in neutral? I'm sorry, I'm pretty clueless to all this, but slowly learning!

And yes, this is just going to be my fun toy to take on leisurely drives. My husband figures he'd rather spend $3-4k on an older Jeep, and plan on putting some money into it vs. buying one for say $6-7k and potentially have just as many issues.
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Old 09-19-2010, 11:48 AM   #7
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Well, after showing this thread to my husband, perhaps I misspoke. He believes that it isn't actually in 4 wheel drive (by transfer case) but the front differential is engaged, typical locking when turning tight. He said something about a vacuum leak keeping the differential engaged.
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Old 09-19-2010, 11:59 AM   #8
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flat towing should be done with the transfer case in neutral and the tranny in gear (or park for an auto). Transfer case in gear and tranny in neutral can eat the tranny for lunch (especially an auto), and in 4wd can eat the t-case too.

speedometer reads off the transmission in most cases on older vehicles, and I think an '88 would almost definitely be cable driven, so with the transfer in neutral and tranny in park or in gear, it SHOULD NOT read speed or mileage. I could be wrong, but it sounds like the guy either towed it wrong (and may have tore the driveline up) or is being really shady (and you said he seems like an honest guy, so driveline issues seem more likely)
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Old 09-19-2010, 12:39 PM   #9
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speedometer reads off the transmission in most cases on older vehicles, and I think an '88 would almost definitely be cable driven, so with the transfer in neutral and tranny in park or in gear, it SHOULD NOT read speed or mileage. I could be wrong, but it sounds like the guy either towed it wrong (and may have tore the driveline up) or is being really shady (and you said he seems like an honest guy, so driveline issues seem more likely)
Original owners did the towing behind an RV, 2nd owner (the seller's friend) bought it at auction, and from what I understand, was looking for more of a project vehicle, so decided to sell it. He's the one that towed it from Maine to NH for his buddy to sell (older guy that sells maybe a dozen cars in front of his home).

So... if the original owner's towed it behind their RV incorrectly and there was an issue with the driveline, would it be obvious by driving it? Or is that something, as you said, that would have to be looked at by a guy who knew what he was doing? Or, is there something that my husband could look for as a tell tale sign?

Thanks for all your help!
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Old 09-19-2010, 01:05 PM   #10
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I thought the 88's had the imported French drive train? Plus you will have a carberator to deal with. Plan on spending at least $800. to get it useable. Then at least $1200 or more in accessories.
Make sure the frame is not rusted through in spots also.
I paid 2200. for my YJ with 111,000 miles. To date I have spent an additional $1800 in nessary stuff and accessories.
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Old 09-19-2010, 01:39 PM   #11
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Those are just the images from the ad... I can try to get better ones.

I think $4,000 is a bit high (and more than I'm willing to spend on it in its present condition). What do you think would be a reasonable price to pay for it? I was all ready to spend $2800 on an '89 with 90k miles on it, but the day before I went to pick it up, the casting on the tranny cracked, and so it sits til the guy has time to fix it, and he has no idea when that will be...
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Old 09-19-2010, 01:53 PM   #12
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It seems as if the owner knows that it will take 2-3 thousand to get it into decent shape and he is looking to get out from under it. Based upon what you describe as being new car owners and don't have a mechanic to have it checked out I would definately pass on this one because it also sounds like you won't be able to buy parts and install them yourselves. An old YJ with 149,000 miles, which is the true mileage because towing it properly will not add mileage, can be a money pit without adding mods. And, if it wasn't towed properly the trans and transfer case will need to be overhauled. When all is said and done you're looking at 1. paying too much for an 88. You should pay $2,500 max for the condition that its in. 2. be prepared to spend an additional 2-3 thousand on it, and thats being conservative because you can't do your own work. 3. the problems listed will increase once you get it home and drive it for awhile, such as brakes, exhaust, carb., suspension, etc., etc. Sorry for the bad news but I would pass on this one.
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Old 09-19-2010, 02:20 PM   #13
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From what I've read on different sites, I'm getting mixed messages about towing and racking on mileage. Some people say it won't, other's say it will, so no offense to anyone, I'm not really sure what to go by.

Also, we will be doing most of the work on it ourselves. We don't have a mechanic because we haven't needed one. My husband has been able to take care of everything that has been needed, such as brakes, exhaust work, etc.
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Old 09-19-2010, 02:42 PM   #14
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If the second individual was looking for a project vehicle he found it. He wants to get out from under it because it needs a lot of work and he's not able or willing to put the time, effort or cash into it. You really have to assume it has 149,000 on it. So if you are doing the work that's great. You will spend a ton of cash on it so the 4,000 price tag is at least 1,500 too much. Good luck with whatever decision you make.
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Old 09-19-2010, 05:57 PM   #15
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Original owners did the towing behind an RV, 2nd owner (the seller's friend) bought it at auction, and from what I understand, was looking for more of a project vehicle, so decided to sell it. He's the one that towed it from Maine to NH for his buddy to sell (older guy that sells maybe a dozen cars in front of his home).
The owner, who is not the seller towed it from Maine to NH to sell it. Why would he do that? Are there title issues? Is there a reason why it could not be sold in Maine? The Jeep was purchased at auction. Was there any documentation from the original owner stating how the vehicle was used. That is pretty rare at car auctions.
I said in the beginning that I would pass on it not only due to the amount of known work needed, but more so for the unknown work needed.
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Old 09-19-2010, 06:16 PM   #16
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JDsDream has pretty much got this one covered.

Based on reading this thread alone... I'd pay $3100 MAX or walk. Of course you are going to sink some cash into it to get it right, but you can do that slowly at your own pace.

Good luck!
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Old 09-19-2010, 10:36 PM   #17
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I'd pay $3100 MAX or walk. Of course you are going to sink alot of cash into it to get it right
Unless you can get it for $2000 (or less ) walk away from this one.

1. If the rear main seal is in fact leaking (likely on an '88 with that mileage), it will be @$300, if you pay a shop to do it.
2. It has known rust issues......these are expensive and difficult to repair, and it's always worse than it looks.

With all that said, if the seller is willing to repair all the problems (not likely), $3500 would be a fair price.
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Old 09-20-2010, 01:01 AM   #18
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$4000 is way too high.
I bought my 88 4.2 w/aftermarket carb, 160k miles for $2700.
Only rust was driver side floorboard.



Bouncing gas gauges are standard equip on early wranglers.
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Old 09-20-2010, 01:52 PM   #19
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I have to agree with the general consensus here... 4k is way too much for this Jeep. I wouldn't touch it for any more than 2k and even then I would be trying to get it cheaper.
As others have stated make sure you check the frame for rot. Even if it only looks like rust it may be worse than it looks. (See my attached Picture) When I first looked at the Jeep it looked like really bad surface rust... no holes at all... then I started poking it with a screw driver ... then a hammer and screwdriver... and look what I found.... Definately without fail... check the rear frame rails by the shackle mounts and up front by the steering box mount, and use a screw driver to poke it to test the metal. If the owner won't let you do it then just walk away. There is no harm in poking a solid steel frame.... unless its rotted to hell.
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Old 09-20-2010, 03:45 PM   #20
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Thanks everyone. If I decide to go with this Jeep, it will definitely not be for any where near asking price, and I will definitely have someone knowledgeable look at it. I will also find out why he is selling it, and it's not being sold in Maine etc.

I actually just found another Jeep that I'm going to look at tomorrow. Horrible, tiny little pictures, but if you guys could take a look at the ad and give me an idea of some things to look for/questions to ask based on the info in the ad, that'd be great. They list some things that have been recently replaced, so I'm just wondering if the things listed "mean" anything (like the Jeep was in some sort of accident etc). I once looked at an ad that listed a bunch of stuff replaced, and come to find out it was because the Jeep was rolled.

Here's the link: 00 jeep wrangler 4.0 auto ac cruise 132k 1 owner
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Old 09-20-2010, 04:07 PM   #21
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For a 2000 has tons fo new stuff. Go for it WTF.

00 jeep wrangler 6cyl auto. has ice cold air, cruise control. It is a hardtop with full doors. It has new tires and is in very good condition all around. body is in great shape, has some surface rust on front fenders. frame is in very good condition also. many new parts have been installed within the last year, new tires, new computer, recent tune up, new brake lines, new sway bar endlinks, new shocks front and rear, new transmission lines, jeep is ready to drive, it has 132k on it and runs and drives
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Old 09-20-2010, 04:15 PM   #22
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For a 2000 has tons fo new stuff. Go for it WTF.
Heck, I guess even if it needs some stuff, it'd still be a lot cheaper than the '88!
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Old 09-21-2010, 04:11 AM   #23
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And you will have round lights!!
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Old 09-21-2010, 07:57 AM   #24
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The price seems really good, so I'm hoping it's not too good to be true. Or maybe it's just that most Wranglers around here are ridiculously priced (or maybe that's everywhere). If it ends up being something I'm interested in, I will post pics/info later today.
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Old 09-21-2010, 04:40 PM   #25
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Run, do not walk, away from that '88!!!! I know what you're feeling for this Wrangler. You're pie-eyed because it's sooo close to what you imagined driving, and it's relatively affordable. The thing is, in this case, you don't know what you're really getting.
My advice to you is to keep looking. If you're buying a used Jeep in NE, plan on spending @ least an additional $1,500 on hidden rust/rot, snapped bolts and cutting tools (or on a good mechanic). Oh, also: Nobody is a 'nice guy' when they're trying to sell you a vehicle. Good luck
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Old 09-22-2010, 07:47 PM   #26
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Run, do not walk, away from that '88!!!! I know what you're feeling for this Wrangler. You're pie-eyed because it's sooo close to what you imagined driving, and it's relatively affordable. The thing is, in this case, you don't know what you're really getting.
Haha, that made me laugh and it's so true. I actually ended up buying the TJ last night. Will post some pics!

Thanks for all your help everyone, and talking me out of the '88!
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Old 09-22-2010, 08:04 PM   #27
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Congratulations. I am soooooo glad you found one. I felt horrible for possibly raining on your parade of happiness with the 88.

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